Tag Archives: API

Studio Spotlight: Noise Nest Invests in the Future

Noise NestHollywood, CA (January 20, 2021)—Nick Gross, drummer, producer and entrepreneur, is a busy man, recording and performing with a variety of bands while also overseeing Gross Labs, his growing entertainment, media and investment company. Amidst all that action, Gross found the time over the past year to expand his Noise Nest production complex in Hollywood.

Now spanning an entire block in the heart of Hollywood’s media district, Noise Nest began more modestly under another name about eight years ago. “We leased the smaller space for the first three years for a production team that I had at the time; we used it as a songwriting facility,” says Gross. “We later built it out to be more of a recording studio facility where other managers, publishers and labels could use the space.”

When his neighbor’s larger building became available, Gross snapped it up, gutting the structure and calling in Peter Grueneisen’s nonzero\architecture to design a three-room complex with lounges, kitchen and other amenities. He then had designer and acoustician Chris Owens of F.C. Owens revamp the two production rooms in the original, smaller building.

Noise Nest's Studio A is centered around a split API 1608 console and a Slate Raven system.
Noise Nest’s Studio A is centered around a split API 1608 console and a Slate Raven system.

“It started as this sort of punk-rock, grungy little studio and it’s turned into a multi-purpose, multi-use content factory,” Gross says. His vision for Noise Nest was inspired by pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek’s now-defunct Fantasy Factory in downtown L.A., which he calls “a cool and creative way to think outside of the box.”

The initial two rooms catered to outside clients while Gross was growing his business, but Noise Nest now focuses on in-house content creation. “I host a lot of our internal publishing and label clients; they each get to use the space for free,” he says. “We’re doing all kinds of things: music production, live streaming, gaming. It’s an epic live event space; we built two basketball courts.”

The Gross Labs umbrella company, launched in 2018, encompasses record label and music publisher Big Noise Music Group, Noise Nest Animation, e-sports organization Team Rogue, and philanthropic education and self-discovery platform Find Your Grind. Gross co-founded Big Noise with Vagrant Records co-founders Jon Cohen and John “Feldy” Feldmann, the man behind SoCal ska-punk band Goldfinger; signings include The Used, Ashley Tisdale and The Wrecks. Gross still sometimes plays with Goldfinger, as well as his own bands, Half the Animal and girlfriends. His many investments range from consumer products to new tech ventures.

Studio B sports an SSL Nucleus.
Studio B sports an SSL Nucleus.

A common thread throughout Noise Nest is PMC speakers. “The choice of PMC was a no-brainer,” says Gross, who first heard the monitors at the studios of his friend, producer and songwriter Dr. Luke. “They’re incredible. We’re super stoked to have them.” Studio A features PMC’s flagship QB1-A in-wall main monitors, while various IB1S-A, twotwo.6 and twotwo.8 models provide near field coverage there and in the other rooms.

There is a consistent aesthetic between rooms. The largest space, A, is dominated by a massive console supporting a split analog API 1608, with the main desk to the left and 16 more channels to the right, plus a Slate Raven system. “It’s a one-of-a-kind desk that I wanted to build out with a cool mixture of analog and digital. The outboard gear that sits behind it is pretty special as well,” he says, and includes SSL and Neve mic preamps.

The live room in Studio A has ample space for artists.
The live room in Studio A has ample space for artists.

The tracking space is just the right size, he says: “It gets the job done. We wanted to be smart with the space and be as effective as we could, knowing that we wanted to build three studios in a 4,500-square-foot building,” he says.

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The B room, equipped with an SSL Matrix2 and soffited Genelec 1238A SAM main monitors, transforms into an indoor/outdoor space. “People can be playing basketball outside and see what’s going on inside the room at the same time,” he says. The console in Studio C, the smallest room, overlooks a small booth and houses an industry-standard vocal chain—Neve 1073 preamp and Tube-Tech CL 1B compressor—with ATC SCM25A Pro monitors and a rack of additional outboard gear.

Studio C adjoins a small vocal booth
Studio C adjoins a small vocal booth

“All three studios have their own vibe. I wanted to take the feeling of old recording studios, whether that was old brick or old wood or analog gear, and give it that high-end, digital, 2020s modern vibe. So we have white brick everywhere and polished concrete for all the floors,” says Gross. “It’s just a fun hang and a good vibe. You don’t want to leave.”

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Producing the Producer: Creating Rick Rubin’s ‘Broken Record’ Podcast

Rick Rubin, producer/podcaster
Rick Rubin, producer/podcaster

As a music producer, Rick Rubin is known for stripping away the clutter and guiding artists to focus on what they do best, whether it’s Johnny Cash’s deep baritone voice, the primal energy of Danzig’s guitar riffs or Run DMC’s iconic breakbeats. Broken Record, a podcast that fosters conversations between musicians and their audiences in the way album liner notes once did, follows the same premise by keeping the setup simple.

Broken Record producer Leah Rose.
Broken Record producer Leah Rose.

“The main focus of Broken Record is the conversation,” says Leah Rose, producer of the Pushkin Industries podcast. “Because the conversations go so deep, when you do hear the music, you hear it in an entirely new context. You might hear things that you didn’t hear before, and learning about the artist’s motivation or the backstory really adds a lot to their music.”

Producing Broken Record, which bills itself as “liner notes for the digital age,” is a bicoastal endeavor led by Rubin, co-interviewer Malcolm Gladwell and host Justin Richmond, from Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California and Pushkin Industries’ studio in Hudson, New York. The podcast’s guest list has included Industry veterans like Bruce Springsteen and Don Was, as well as newer artists like FKA Twigs, and conversations are free-format affairs that can include playbacks of recorded music and even live, off-the-cuff performances.

In a recent episode, Rubin and artist James Blake dissected Blake’s recording and creative process, and how he often records a single vocal phrase, then stacks it and manipulates the pitch while playing along on the piano. “He lays out that entire process while he’s tinkering around on a piano during the interview, which is just really special and incredible when you hear it,” she says. “It’s like all of a sudden you have this new information to hear the song with, and it makes for an incredible experience.”

Face-to-face interviews like the one used for the Blake episode, which was recorded at Shangri-La on Neumann U87s using Neve 1073 mic preamps into an API console, are typically the most productive. [Rose says Rubin has a doctor onsite who does rapid COVID testing.] The raw audio from the Blake session clocked in at two and a half hours, giving Rose plenty of material to use when building toward the final edit.

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“With Rick, nothing is linear,” she says. “As an editor, my job is to look at the entire thing as a puzzle and figure out how the pieces fit together, [to] take something that could be completely non-linear and make it linear.”

Broken Record Artwork PushkinAs the main facilitator and producer, Rose is on standby via Zoom during recording sessions to cue up recordings for the host and guest. Many of the episodes released in the last year were recorded with the guest at home, with mixed results. Sometimes they get lucky and the artist has a world-class studio at their disposal—as was the case with Springsteen—but often Rose works directly with the guests to ensure their recording setup will be up to standards. She’s even shipped gear to some guests.

After the interview is done, Rose compiles the audio files into an edit that gets reviewed by Richmond and Mia Lobel, executive producer at Pushkin Industries. Once the edit is locked in, she sends it to engineers Jason Gambrell and Martin Gonzalez for mastering.

Producing audio on behalf of one of the most successful and enigmatic producers of his generation might intimidate some, but Rose says Rubin is hands-off for most of the process. “He trusts us,” she explains. “We take the finished product, the conversation, once it’s done and then it’s really up to us to figure out the best way to present it.”

Broken Recordhttps://brokenrecordpodcast.com

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Music Etc. – Jackson Browne Lets the Rhythm Lead

Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit, Vol. 1, a collaborative album benefiting Haiti’s Artists Institute and Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), features Jackson Browne and featuring Jenny Lewis, musician/producer Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Russell (The Head and The Heart), Habib Koité, Raúl Rodríguez, Paul Beaubrun and others.
Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit, Vol. 1, a collaborative album benefiting Haiti’s Artists Institute and Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), features Jackson Browne and featuring Jenny Lewis, musician/producer Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Russell (The Head and The Heart), Habib Koité, Raúl Rodríguez, Paul Beaubrun and others. David Belle

Over the last several years, a group of musicians and songwriters from four continents traveled to Haiti to record songs inspired by the Caribbean island nation while also helping to educate audio engineering students at the Artists Institute in Jacmel, on the south coast. The collaborative project, facilitated by Jackson Browne and featuring Jenny Lewis, musician/producer Jonathan Wilson, Jonathan Russell (The Head and The Heart), Habib Koité, Raúl Rodríguez, Paul Beaubrun and others, resulted in the World Music album Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1, an 11-song collection released earlier this year that benefits the Artists Institute and Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ).

Sessions took place during two separate trips to the Artists Institute recording studio, which was designed by WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group. The album was mixed by Dave Cerminara at Browne’s Groove Masters facility in Santa Monica, CA and mastered by Gavin Lurssen at Lurssen Mastering in Los Angeles.

Artists Institute and the Ciné Institute sprang out of the Academy for Artist Peace and Justice, the largest middle and high school on the island, which were established by APJ and filmmaker David Belle, an APJ board member. Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne have provided additional support for the Artists Institute.

Jackson Browne and Jonathan Wilson joined Pro Sound News to talk about Haiti, the Artists Institute and the songs. (Comments have been edited for clarity and brevity.)

On the project’s genesis:

Browne: I think the first time I went to Haiti was in 2015, five years after I had appeared at a benefit to raise money to build the school. They got the school built pretty quick; then, up the coast in Jacmel, they built Ciné Institute, which is a film school, and the Audio Institute, which has a recording studio.

At that first visit to the studio, I saw the opportunity—just like film directors who come from all over to speak at the Ciné Institute, they should have people come record here. Win and Régine had been there and spoken to the kids, but I thought, what needs to happen is for somebody to come and demonstrate how we record.

Wilson: I got a call from Jackson. He wanted to bring some awareness to this awesome studio and the gear. That’s treasured and cherished; they’re so excited about the space. He called a couple people and asked me to call a few folks, and we put together a crew.

Engineer Trevor Spencer teaches a recording class to high school students at Haiti’s Artists Institute.
Engineer Trevor Spencer teaches a recording class to high school students at Haiti’s Artists Institute.

On teaching and recording:

Browne: I described the studio to Jonathan and he said, “Let’s get their equipment list.” It was pretty bare bones—a Pro Tools rig and an SSL [AWS900] board. He said, “Let’s bring in some equipment to warm this up and make it interesting for them.” It was about bringing some gear that we would like them to know about. It’s not that they don’t know anything; they just haven’t been shown how to do it. They notice that things can sound a certain way, but they don’t know how it was done.

Wilson: I could tell from looking at the list that we needed some signal chain. We needed some preamps, with some proper circuitry. We went down to Vintage King; those guys were very kind to us. We got a bunch of tube stuff, a 1073, a Manley Vox Box. And we brought down some microphones—old American EVs, a couple of AEAs.

Browne: I talked to [Mojave Audio’s] Dusty Wakeman and he gave us a deal on two tube mics. We brought API gear, Pultecs and Retro compressors. Teaching started the minute we plugged in the gear. That was part of the education of our coming there, and exactly what I hoped for. Just to know that this compression on the drums will make them sound like this; practical information about how to make things sound good.

Music, Etc.: Danielia Cotton
Music, Etc.:  Huey Lewis and the News
Music, Etc.: Lara Downes

On the album’s inspiration:

Wilson: We went to a real voodoo ceremony. It started at 6 p.m. and went on for about eight hours. It was a drumming frenzy. That was super cool to see. The interplay of the Haitian drums permeates the whole project. One of the focuses was the truly great drummers.

Browne: Jonathan is a drummer and he played the drums knowing that he wanted to feature the Haitian hand drums; his drumming was providing a setting or a context. At the end of the project, he started laying out this song at the piano. He invited Sanba Zao [of Haitian roots band] Lakou Mizik to play drums and sing, and it turned into that incredible call and response. On that song [“Lape, Lanmou (Peace and Love)”], there’s a moment where there’s suddenly a flute—that’s Habib. When Dave, who mixed the album, turned it up and it became this huge thing, we put the song at the beginning of the album because it demonstrates where the album is going.

I had that little guitar lick and the idea for “Love Is Love”—“Here on the distant sunny shores of an island…” We’re First World tourists. Everybody thinks of tropical places as places of refuge and relaxation, but for the people there, it’s a struggle every day. At the end of the song, I’m talking about Fr. Rick Frechette. He came to Haiti originally as a priest. He said, “They don’t need a priest; they need a doctor.” And he went away and became a doctor and came back and built a hospital. He’s an inspiration.

Jenny Lewis came down with some ideas but realized none of them had anything to do with what she was seeing, especially after we went to the voodoo ceremony. She wrote the song “Under the Supermoon” the next morning and we recorded it that afternoon.

The best part of it was to watch some of these songs become transformed by the whole group—to hear Raúl come in with a song and when we put the Haitian drums to it, it became this whole other thing. We didn’t try to put together a band—it was just a group of people that were interesting as individuals, recording—but we had six songs in five days, so we said, let’s come back and make it a whole album.

Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1 • https://spoti.fi/33SmlGX

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

CRAS Student Wins API Scholarship

CRAS student Ponie Jones won an API aul Walker Memorial Scholarship.
CRAS student Ponie Jones won an API aul Walker Memorial Scholarship.

Gilbert, AZ (August 5, 2020)—Student Ponie Jones at the Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences in Arizona has won the 2020 API Saul Walker Memorial Scholarship.

“Winning the API Scholarship is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life, and I am honored to be representing CRAS in such a fantastic way,” said Jones, a 26-year-old Park City, Utah native who entered CRAS in October 2019. “I first heard about the API scholarship through my CRAS internship coordinator Tamara Parker. I applied for it amidst the COVID-19 quarantine and submitted my fifth cycle project, which was a cover of ‘Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked’ by Cage the Elephant. “

The Saul Walker Memorial Scholarship—formerly known as the API Visionary Scholarship—is offered by Automated Processes Incorporated (API) in order to encourage further education in the professional audio arts. It recognizes a select group of audio students who exhibit talent and ability in and around the recording studio.

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“CRAS is a school that regularly submits applications demonstrating entrants with excellent audio skills and thoughtful essays on the recording/mixing process,” noted API president Larry Droppa. “We’re thrilled that Ponie Jones is joining an elite group of audio engineers who embody the talent, skill and innovation in the audio world as exemplified by API’s co-founder Saul Walker.”

Annual scholarship submissions are encouraged from any institution with an API studio console in its audio education program. Judging is performed by API staff with winners announced by the end of June each year. Scholarships are worth up to $2,000 each.

Jones first heard about CRAS while managing music festivals in northern Utah, where she realized she wanted to pursue live sound as a career. “I was mesmerized by the production, the orchestration of this big experience/event to feed a community of like-minded music fiends such as myself,” she explained. “I fully immersed myself in that culture. At one point, my sister introduced me to her friend, Dave Rupsch. He gave me two recommendations: try to get on at SoloTech in Las Vegas as an intern or to attend The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences. Back in June of 2019, I attended an open house at CRAS. The moment I walked in the front door, I was stunned, and I am not lying when I say that on that day, I finally found my home.”

Rupsch, an Arizona resident and monitor engineer for My Chemical Romance, Katy Perry and Red Hot Chili Peppers, said, “I am absolutely delighted to hear of Ponie Jones’ API scholarship to CRAS. She, as well as Arizona, is extremely fortunate to have such a unique facility as CRAS that will continue to grow her passion for audio both technically and creatively. With access to great equipment, a network of expert instructors, and a collaborative learning environment, I eagerly await the successes she can create for herself at The Conservatory and beyond. Oh, and protect your hearing!”

CRAS • www.cras.edu

Original Resource is ProSoundNetwork.com

Doshi Audio EVO Series Tape Head Preamplifier | Review

I had a fantastic time putting the most excellent Doshi Audio Tape Head Preamplifier through its paces. This latest version, labeled the EVO series, has some improvements over the previous Tape Head Preamplifier 3.0 series, but permit me to reminisce a bit first… A Long Time Ago In A Recording Studio Far, Far Away Sitting behind an enormous API console as I peered through the glass to watch the musicians in the tracking room, I heard the last bit of decay from the final chord and cymbal crash fade to silence. I hit stop, then the rewind button on the MCI JH-110 2” 24 track machine. I mashed the talkback button and asked the band to come in and hear the take. When all were gathered in the control room, I hit play. It was a big sonic letdown. In different situations, the disappointment was sometimes extreme, sometimes minimal and on a few very special occasions, I felt the playback actually had an enhanced quality. But it was NEVER the same as the input. Sure, the music and performances were many times excellent and captivating, but why wouldn’t the tape deck serve up all that goodness that I heard going to the [...]

Original Resource is Part-Time Audiophile